Some see at this as a way for Apple to hedge its bets in case its latest iPhones don't sell as well as previous models have. The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, unveiled last week, have a host of small improvements that Apple hopes consumers will see as adding up to something extraordinary. But initial reaction to the phone has been somewhat muted.
Yet that's not the reason Apple is giving for choosing not to announce preorder numbers. The company said in a statement to CNBC last week that it is confident the devices will sell out, but that it is "now at a point where we know before taking the first customer pre-order that we will sell out of the iPhone 7."
In other words, Apple is pretty certain that it can sell all of the iPhones that it makes. It therefore sees little point in announcing preorder numbers when the firm is constrained only by the output of its factories, details it may want to keep close to the chest for its own purposes.
There have been many years when Apple watchers have cautioned users to take the first preorder weekend numbers with a grain of salt for exactly the reason that the company gives this year — that supply, not demand, dictates the phone sales. But for Apple shareholders, not having the preorder report means waiting until the company announces its next quarterly earnings to get a good handle on iPhone sales.
However, there are some clues that Apple's original preorder stock has already been spoken for. Shipping dates now extend into the second half of September, or even longer, for all models of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. And phones with the company's new jet black finish have a listed waiting time of three to five weeks for delivery.